Controlling the emissions that lead to climate change is a problem bigger than one person; these days it seems to be a problem bigger than all of us. There are so many barriers and obstacles that the issue is overwhelming. Is solving it the responsibility of governments or industry? Can anything be done before we are all starving from arable land turned into deserts or drowned under rising sea levels? How can we possibly work against human nature and our apparent drive to self destruct in the most glorious fashion possible? The situation is a hopeless one at best.
Well, our family says to hell with that attitude.
According to an article in the New York Times by Nathaniel Rich:
[T]he only way to avoid dangerous levels of warming is to bend the emissions arc below the x-axis. We must, in other words, find our way to “negative emissions,” extracting more carbon dioxide from the air than we contribute to it.
Negative emissions seems like an impossible goal. That’s good, because a goal has to be impossible to capture our family’s imagination. We’re too busy dealing with the concerns of getting through the day with our bills paid, bellies full and putting our two young children in bed before we all pass out in front of the television from exhaustion. Thankfully this is literally about saving the world, or it would get prioritised lower than the latest episode of Young Sheldon.
We want to change the way our family lives and behaves so that our activities are ultimately carbon negative. In order to do this, we have to acknowledge the following:
- Avoiding emissions is impossible because we all breathe out carbon, and we are massive fans of continuing to breathe. We could honestly do that all day long and not get tired of it. Best. Hobby. Ever.
- If we can’t eliminate a particular source of emissions, then we need to either reduce or offset them somehow. Improving our environmental impact doesn’t have to be all or nothing, no matter how tempting it can be to think that way.
- We don’t look at our bank balance and laugh ourselves sick with glee over how high the number is. Any laughing is usually of the hysterical variety that tends to accompany regret and recriminations. For this project to work, our changes have to be financially sustainable.
- Reducing our emissions through deprivation is going to cause massive resentment, so if any modifications to our lifestyle can’t increase our quality of life then they have to at least be neutral.
- There will be mistakes along the way. We don’t have all the answers, we aren’t experts, and sometimes you have to take one step backwards before you can take two steps forward. And that’s OK.
- Change is hard.
How You Can Help
Please help us to remain accountable for our progress. If you see that we haven’t posted an update for a while, leave us a comment to remind us that we’re not alone. If you see that we manage to come up with half a solution, and you know the other half, send us an encouraging message. If we show you something that you could adapt in your own life to reduce your environmental impact, try it out and let us know how it worked for you. We’d love it if everyone came on this journey with us, but sometimes cheering from the sidelines is the most important thing that you can do.